fflfN — — JP—-—7II 33s l. il Mr Dak To's Sky Soldiers "On Hill 875, in the jungled mountains of South Vietnam, American paratroopers have writ- ten another chapter in their illus- trious history. Fighting in savage^ close-quarter combat for the heights dominating the Dak To military complex, they have shown once again that their driving professionalism makes them second to none among mili- tary forces of the world. American paratroopers made their combat debut in World War 1 1 in grim engagements in Sicily, Normandy, Holland and the Pacific Theater. They fought again in Korea and have now distinguished themselves in Vietnam. They bear with pride their ability to leap into battle from the skies, a quality that accentuates their superb capabilities as infantrymen and armored troopers on the ground. In South Vietnam are units of the 101st Airborne Division and the 173d Airborne Brigade. It is to the latter, one of the first American combat units committed in Viet- nam, that the task of retaining mastery of the Dak To area has fallen. The 173d, a rugged outfit indeed, has suffered grievously in carrying out this mission, and it deserves the nation's gratitude. The proud paratroopers, elite of the United States Army, comprise the finest of our youth. Their sacri- fice epitomizes the burning em- phasis of the American commit- ment in South Vietnam/' Introduction When the 173d Airborne Brigade arrived in Vietnam in May of 1965, they brought with them the inherited tradition of the 503d Parachute Infantry that jumped into combat on Corregidor in 1944. During the first three years in Vietnam, the Brigade has written a history of world-wide fame and played a major role in the South Vietnamese struggle for freedom from Communist aggression. The Brigade, organized in June of 1963 from the 2nd Airborne Battle Group, 503d Infantry, underwent extensive airborne, guerrilla, and jungle warfare training on its home island, Okinawa, and throughout the Asian Theatre prior to coming to Vietnam. Since that time, the Sky Soldiers have established an unparalleled jjgjni of firsts in the Vietnam Conflict. Being the first > Army ground combat unit to arrive in Vietnam the 173d spearheaded operations in the Iron Triangle, War Zones C and D the Delta, and the Highlands. The Brigade was also first to conduct a joint American- Vietnamese operation. One mission never to be forgotten was the first combat parachute assault since the Korean Conflict to spearhead Operation JUNCTION CITY. ^- n Profiting by their experience in the III Corps area with the Viet Cong, the combat seasoned Brigade moved to the Central Highlands to answer the threat of a Communist buildup. Again the 173d distinguished itself in close-quarter fighting against the North Vietnamese Regulars who are better organized, trained, and equipped than their southern counterparts. The 173d Brigade won't take time to stand on its laurels. Sky Soldiers will continue to drive on as they did in VIETNAM THE THIRD YEAR. mtm '-: This Book Is Dedicated To The Trooper Who Has Fought Who Has Fallen Who Continues To Fight WiP: Printed by DAI NIPPON PRINTING CO. LTD. TOKYO JAPAN VIETNAM THE THIRD YEAR 173d Airborne Brigade A Pictorial History Published By The Brigade Information Office Major Robert R. Brewer, Information Officer Specialist 5 Roger E. Hester, Editor Paratroopers : My last months with the 173d Airborne Brigade were climaxed by your rapid response to General Westmoreland's di- rective to move to the Central Highlands and eliminate the growing threat in that area. In the area around Dak To from Kontum City to Dak Pek, you engaged and defeated four NVA Regiments thus destroying the enemy plan for a major monsoon offensive. As I departed in August 1967, General Westmoreland praised your performance. He told me that your rapid movement to meet each threat, your aggressive attacks on a well-trained enemy, your professional approach to combat, and your Airborne spirit had saved the Highlands. I now read in the • press and official reports of your continued success. My pride in being able to .say "I was a Sky Soldier" is tremendous. Good luck, good hunting, and God bless you. AIRBORNE— ALL THE WAY Major General John R. Deane, Jr. Brigadier General John R. Deane Jr., former commander of the 173d Airborne Brigade (Separate), has been reassigned to the office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Force Develop- ment in Washington, D.C. General Deane enlisted in the Army on 1 July 1937, and subsequently won an appointment to the United States Military Academy. He graduated as a second lieutenant of infantry in 1942. During World War II, General Deane served with the 104th Infantry Division, rising in rank from second lieutenant to lieutenant colonel. General Deane arrived in Vietnam February 5, 1966, and assumed duties as Deputy Commanding General and Chief of Staff I Field Force. In July of that year, General Deane was assigned as Assistant Division Commander, 1st Infantry Division. During Operation ATTLEBORO, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, this nation's second highest medal for gallantry. On December 28, 1966, General Deane assumed command of the 173d Airborne Brigade. Since that time, he has led the Sky Soldiers on combat operations in the Iron Triangle, War Zones C and D, and the Central Highlands. General Deane jumped into combat, leading the first American parachute assault in Vietnam during Operation JUNCTION CITY near the Cambodian border. Since commanding the 173d Airborne Brigade, General Deane has been promoted to Major General. Sky Soldiers : Once again the 173d Airborne Brigade finds itself in the forefront of the struggle for freedom. This year as in the past, the 173d has proven itself as a fighting force. It is also fitting that during the past three years the Brigade has fought shoulder to shoulder with the Free World Forces on behalf of the people of the Republic of Vietnam. As in each war and in each battle, the true story of the Brigade lies with the indivi- dual soldier — his heroism and his indo- mitable spirit. He is the man who undergoes innumerable hardships and suffering to lessen the trials of others. It is the purpose of this book to show, by pictures and words, the life and accom- plishments of the officers and men of the finest airborne unit of the United States Army. It is my hope that this account of the 173d's magnificent contribution towards the victory that will come will be meaningful and significant for each soldier of the Brigade. Brigadier General Leo H. Schweiter Brigadier General L.H. Schweiter came to the 173d Airborne Brigade with a great- deal of combat experience. General Schweiter served with the 101st Airborne Division in World War II, and X Corps and the 7th Infantry Division in Korea. During World War II, General Schweiter made combat jumps behind enemy lines into Normandy and Holland. In the European Theatre of Operations, he served with the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment and the lOlst's Intelligence (G-2) section. In Korea, General Schweiter participated in the amphibious landings at the Inchon and Wonson, and the subsequent with- drawal from the Hamhung-Hungnam peri- meter in North Korea. He later com- manded the 32nd Infantry Regiment of the 7th Division in combat. General Schweiter commanded the Pro- visional Reconnaissance Troop Sky Cavalry the first air cavalry unit in the U.S. Army. He also commanded the 2nd Airborne Battle Group, 504th Infantry, 82nd Air- borne Division. In 1961, General Schweiter became the first commander of the Fifth Special Forces Group (Airborne). He came to the 173d from an assign- ment as Assistant Division Commander of the 101st Airborne Division af Fort Campbell, Kentucky. While in command, the Sky Soldiers fought and won the Battle of Dak To and carried out many other missions throughout the Central High- lands. His decorations include the Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Combat Infantry- man's Badge with Star, the Bronze Star with Three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross for Heroism, the Air Medal (6th Oak Leaf Cluster) with "V" devices for heroism, the Purple Heart with one Oakleaf Cluster, and the Master Parachutist Badge. Men of the 173d Airborne Brigade The 173d Airborne Brigade is one of the finest fighting units ever fielded by the Army. As the first U.S. Army ground combat unit committed in Vietnam, the Brigade has distinguished itself in combat and has played a decisive role in preventing the enemy from accom- plishing his mission. I am extremely proud to command this unit and am confident that it will continue to defeat and demoralize the enemy. This book is yours-dedicated to you — the fighting soldier — and to those who have fought bravely and lost their lives. It is a pictorial history of the Third Year of the Sky Soldiers in Vietnam. Brigadier General Richard J. Allen Brigadier General Richard J. Allen assumed command of the 173d Airborne Brigade on March 20, 1968 after serving as assistant division commander of the 101st Airborne Division. Enlisting in the Army in 1940, General Allen served in the grades of private, corporal, sergeant, and first sergeant until February, 1942, when he attended Infantry OCS at Fort Benning, Ga. He graduated as a second lieutenant. During World War II, he participated in all of the campaigns of the 101st Airborne Division including the invasion of Normandy, the invasion of Holland, and the Battle of Bastogne. A graduate of the Georgia Military Academy and the University of Maryland, General Allen has completed the following military schools: Infantry OCS, Parachute School, Armor Advanced Course, Command and General Staff College, Armed Forces Staff College, and Air War College. His decorations include the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Distinguished Unit Citation (One Oak Leaf Cluster), the Army Commendation Medal, the Croix de Guerre with Bronze Star (France), the Croix de Guerre (Unit Fourregere-Belgium), the Netherlands Fourregere (Unit), and the Master Parachutist Badge. * vs^^r *N *. \ Contents / Organization II Combat Operations III The Fight For Dak To ,, IV The War V Civic Actions VI The Enemy VII The Sky Soldier izafiori infantry Artillery Cavalry Engineers Armor Support 173d Airborne Brigade ASSIGNED ATTACHED — MI: Military Intelligence Detachment PSD: Infantry Platoon Scout Dog MHD: Military History Detachment APU: Army Postal Unit JJSAF: U.S. Air Force Control Party PI: Public Information Detachment CTT: Combat Tracker Team REPL: Replacement Detachment USAF IB ARVN RRU 404 Ml (OB) The Infantry An army's might can be measured by the strength of its infantry. The infantry is the oldest branch of the army, dating back to colonial times. The methods of war have changed considerably since then, but no matter how sophisticated methods of wea- pons and war become, we still depend on the infantry to deliver the final blow to the enemy. Fighting an unconventional war in Vietnam, against an enemy more apt to elude than take a stand, the infantry has had to adapt itself to meet the challenge of the guerrilla fighter. Now the enemy is begin- ning to realize that the U.S. Army infantry- man is a versatile fighting man. He has consistently met the enemy on his own terms and beat him at his own game. The airborne infantry soldier is a proud wearer of two highly held badges — his parachutists badge and the combat in- fantryman's badge. He has fought in many battles against the aggressive enemy. One of the fieriest battles yet fought in the Vietnam war was during the Battle of Dak To when the airborne infantryman overwhelmed an enemy who continued to fight even after airpower scorched a hill with their lethal load. The 173d has four infantry battalions: the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th of the 503d Infantry which have distinguished them- selves during many critical testing periods. Yet, it still remains that the infantry soldier, the. infantry unit, and the infantry spirit is necessary to search out and destroy the enemy. How well he fights is recorded in the annals of history. 2nd Battalion receives Presidential Unit Citation 3d Battalion arrives in Vietnam msm mt. ■ * The Artillerymen From the time a soldier first arrives in country until he leaves, the deafening sound of artillery pounds at his ears. The thunder of the big guns may unnerve the new arrival at first, but he soon realizes that the guns bellowing in the distance are his best friends. Providing the heavy fire support for the Brigade is the 3d Battalion, 319th Artil- lery, composed of four firing batteries and a headquarters and a service battery. Each firing battery delivers fire support to one of the infantry battalions — and if the need arises, firing is quickly and capably switched to support additional units within range of the weapons system employed. The battalion has twenty-two 105mm howitzers which fire at ranges up to 11 ,000 meters. The mission is to deliver swift, accurate, and continuous fire support to the maneuver elements. This mission has been effective in every manner. "HP l ^:,^^*$&&. SiF*F AT \u a 5»T ^ < «nar Tfie Cavalry The cavalry of today's Army no longer depends upon horses. Instead, the cavalry uses the most recent developments in ground and air transportation to get them to their destination. Once to their destination, the cavalry has many important functions. When at- tached to another Brigade unit, the Cav serves as a security force, a blocking force, or as a reconnaissance and surveillance force. When operating separately, the troop runs road clearing operations, escorts convoys, and conducts mount- ed and dismounted reconnaissance missions. Occasionally, the unit even deploys as a separate infantry force. Troop E, 17th Cavalry, is unique because it is the only separate airborne cavalry troop and part of the only separate air- borne brigade in the United States Army. ''**"■%. Major General William R. Peers, com.' manding general 1st Field Force and Sergeant Major Vincent D. Roegiers, 173d Airborne Brigade Sergeant Major, presents Troop E, 17th Cavalry the Valorous Unit Award for extraordinary heroism during Operation CEDAR FALLS in January 1967. , ' I The Armormen Company D of the 16th Armor (D/16th) has added an important dimension to the war effort in Vietnam. Combining mobility and firepower, armored personnel carriers (APCs) can move in almost any type terrain to close with and destroy the enemy. They can sweep an area twice as fast as foot soldiers, and heavy jungle brush is no problem— an APC can knock down trees up to ten inches in diameter. The APC is an excellent mode of trans- portation for personnel under fire. The two-inch thick aluminum armor will stop rifle bullets and shell fragments. D Company's weaponry makes it a formidable force to tangle with. Each APC is a armed with a .50-caliber machine gun, two m-60 machine guns, and a rocket launcher. In addition, many of the Brigade's seventeen APCs are armed with 90mm recoilless rifles. Engineers The 173d Engineer Company is a unique unit in that it builds, destroys, and fights. Their job is to increase the combat effectiveness of the Brigade by performing tasks of construction and destruction. The results of these activities improve the mobi- lity of friendly forces and impede the mobility of the enemy. The engineers have to be versatile. One day they may build a road through dense jungle and the next they may have to destroy a network of enemy tunnels. Very often the engineers are under fire by the enemy. Engineers also sweep roads for mines, survey, explore, and clean areas for fire support bases and landing zones, provide water points, and are constantly supporting the Brigade Command Post with heavily fortified bunkers from which tactical opera- tions are monitored and controlled. Engineers are frequently attached to an infantry battalion during an operation. The airborne engineer moves as an infantryman — fighting and destroying. No job is too big or too small for the 173d Engineer Company. T-.J 173-ENGINEER COMPANY AIR BORNE Achievement in combat support opera- tions has earned for the 173d Engineer Company, 173d Airborne Brigade, the highest award for an Army engineer unit. The Society of American Military Engi- neers' Itschner Plaque was awarded to the 173d Engineers for the year of 1967 from a field of approximately 400 similar units stationed throughout the world. Named "the most outstanding unit of the year," the airborne engineers received the honor for their "extraordinary profes- sional competence and technical profi- ciency," as stated in the citation award, which made special note of the role the engineers played in the battle for Hill 875 in November 1967 at Dak To. During the battle, the engineers were deployed with the infantry companies to destroy the bunker complexes of the enemy forward defensive perimeter. The engineers assaulted with flame-throwers and satchel charges providing the infantry with that hole in the line they needed to secure and BEST IN 1967 clear Hill 875. The Gitation took note of the way the engineer paratroopers efficiently adapted to the ever-changing needs of the 173d in 15 different major combat operations from the jungled Iron Triangle to the Central High- lands. Constructing forward support bases in 100-foot triple-canopied jungles, rappelling with the initial elements of the infantry in assaults, clearing landing zones, roads, and enemy fortifications were among the tasks and achievements noted by Brigadier General Leo H. Schweiter, former 173d commanding general, in his recommenda- tion of the engineer unit for the award. During the battle of Dak To, the airborne engineers were recommended for one Dis- tinguished Service Cross and earned one Silver Star, twelve Bronze Stars with "V" device, two Air Medals, and three Army Commendation Medals with "V" device. In support of the Brigade's other combat operations the engineers participated in during the year, they recieved 27 additional awards for valor. Brigadier General George S. Blanchard, Chief of Staff of the First Field Force, commanded the engineer company for their participation in civic action projects in his endorsement to the recommendation. He noted the record of the company in working with ARVN units, attested to by the award of the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry to thirteen members of the company. The Itschner Award is a silver plaque, named for the former Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army, and past president of the Society, Lieutenant General Emerson C. Itschner. Captain Thomas E. Weber, com- mander of the 173d Engineers Company, accepted the award on behalf of the company in Washington, D.C. All active Army Engineer companies are eligible to compete for the award, which is intended to promote leadership in junior engineer officers and foster the esprit of all Corps of Engineer units. Support The Support Battalion is the Brigade's lifeline. It provides a wide variety of combat support functions that are vital to the total effectiveness of the rest of the Brigade. Company "B" (Medical) provides teams of doctors and aidmen to operate the Brigade Clearing Station. "C" Company (Supply and Transport) hauls and stores the Brigade's supplies. Its aerial equipment support platoon furnishes parachute sup- port to the men in the field. Third echelon maintenance is performed on all the Bri- gade's equipment by "D" Company. Headquarters and Administration Brigade Headquarters and Headquarters Company, and Company "A" (Admin- istration), are composed of many varied sections. Headquarters Company is res- ponsible for the many attachments to the Brigade: 404th Radio Research Unit, 51st Chemical Detachment, 172nd Military Intelligence Detachment, 24th Military History Detachment, 46th Public Informa- tion Detachment, U.S. Air Force Control Party, 628th Military Intelligence Detach- ment, and Vietnamese army personnel. It is also responsible for establishing and securing the Brigade Forward Command Post. Administration Company also handles a variety of tasks. The Adjutant General, Finance Offices, and the 45th Army Postal Unit all fall under the Company's control. Company A's Replacement Detachment processes all Brigade paratroopers on ar- rival, R and R, and DEROS. *** \ m- p%*' I Corps Cochise Walker MacArthur Dak To II, MacArthur Dak To /, Greeley MacArthur Francis Marion MacArthur Combat Operations Boiling Cincinnati Dayton Fort Wayne Newark Junction City II II Corps /// Corps IV Corps First In Vietnam The 173d Airborne Brigade, first U.S. combat unit to arrive in Vietnam, fought the enemy throughout the II and III Corps tactical zones during combat operations in its third year in Vietnam. The Sky Soldiers on February 22nd, 1967, jumped from C-130 aircraft at 1,000 feet to land on a 1 ,000-by-6,000 foot rice paddy near Cambodia. The 2nd Battalion Sky Soldiers received only light sniper fire as they descended on the huge clearing. Simultane- ously, two more battalions of paratroopers were lifted by helicopters to adjacent landing zones and immediately the biggest allied off- ensive of the war was underway. The first part of their mission complete, the airborne task force had jumped into combat with lightning speed, blocking the VC from the refuge of the Cambodian border. As JUNCTION CITY moved into March of 1967, the Sky Soldiers were credited with killing 304 VC soldiers. Under the operational control of the 1st Infantry Division, The Sky Soldiers once again moved into the battle fields of War Zone "C" on March 20, spearheading Operation JUNCTION CITY II. Their mission was to secure the area at Minh Thanh located 70 miles north of Saigon and to initiate airmobile operations on March 23. Small engagements with the 9th VC Division and the 272nd Main Force Regiment were made daily during the 23-day operations. From early April to the last week in May, the 173d conducted four smaller operations in the Xuan Loc and Bien Hoa area. Nearly 100 more Viet Cong were killed by the Sky Soldiers as they con- ducted Operations NEWARK, FORT WAYNE, DAYTON, and CINCINNATI during the two month period. Moving North On May 24th, the Brigade was alerted for deployment to the green and rolling countryside of the Central Highlands, 250 miles north of their home base camp at Bien Hoa. The decision to deploy the 173d northwest was a sudden one. The Brigade had just returned to base camp after completing Operation DAYTON in the May Tow area southwest of Xuan Loc, and was conducting Operation CINCINNATI, with the purpose of protecting the Bien Hoa-Long Binh complex. Before this was done, the Sky Soldiers were alerted for immediate deployment to the II Corps Tactical Zone under the operational control of I Field Force Vietnam. The Brigade's reaction was swift. Within 24 hours of notification, elements were moving by C-130 aircraft from Bien Hoa to Pleiku. The entire airlift required only 21 aircraft making a total of 208 sorties. Within 67 hours, 2,329 personnel and 2,701 tons of supplies and equipment were trans- ferred to the II Corps Tactial Zone. In addition, a small element of the Brigade, consisting mainly of equipment too bulky to be airlifted, deployed from Saigon by ship. After landing at Qui Nhon, these elements came overland to the new Brigade CP which had been established at Catecka, just south of Pleiku. The Brigade was placed under operational control of the 4th Infantry Division upon arrival in the Pleiku area. The Ivy Division's Operation FRANCIS MARION, of which the 173d then became a part, had been in progress for sometime. The Sky Soldiers immediately began search-and-destroy maneuvers to the south of Catecka, con- centrating primarily on the la Drang Valley area, the scene of the 1st Cavalry Divi- sion's heavy publicized engagements in 1966. Despite extensive patrolling in their area of responsibility, the 173d paratroopers made no significant contact during the operation. New Dak To While FRANCIS MARION was in pro- gress, however, increased enemy activity was being observed in the Dak To area, some 54 miles farther north. A Special Forces/CIDG element had made contact on May 13 with an estimated North Vietnamese Company, and a Mike Force ran into another company near the same location on June 15th. The 173d was then called on to deploy a task force, consisting of one reinforced battalion, to the Dak To area to conduct operations oriented toward locating and destroying enemy elements. Accordingly, an advance party was flown to Dak To on June 1 6th, and the task force prepared to follow. That night the Special Forces Camp at Dak To and the 42nd ARVN Regimental Headquarters in the nearby town of Tan Canh were both mortared. The Sky Soldier's advance party, bivouacked near the Special Forces Camp, also received mortar fire. The following day, June 17th the task force deployed from Catecka to Dak To by combination of C-130 and motor convoy. The force consisted of one infantry batta- lion, one cavalry troop, one platoon of armored personnel carriers, two artillery batteries, one engineer platoon, and other support troops. While the deployment was in progress, however, the decision was made to increase the size of the task force to two reinforced battalions. Plans were quickly drawn up calling for additional deployment. The following day, another battalion moved to Dak To by C-130 and motor convoy. After the Brigade had been at Dak To for several days the second maneuver bat- talion was transferred there from Catecka. There appeared at this time to be two separ- ate threats to the Dak To area: one from enemy forces to the southwest and one from other elements to the northeast. The 173d reunified at a new base camp, and was ready to commence operations against either or both. Operation Greeley The Sky Soldiers were not operating alone. Various units supported or worked with the Brigade at different times during Operation GREELEY. These include the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry; 1st Air Cavalry, with its supporting artillery; C Battery', 1st Battalion; 77th Artillery; B Company' 229th Engineers; 937th Engineer Group; A Battery (155mm towed), 1st Battalion, 92nd Artillery; B Battery (105mm self-propelled), 3d Battalion, 6th Artillery; and C Battery (8-inch and 175mm self-propelled), 6th Battalion, 14th Artillery. All three artillery batteries were part of the 52nd Artillery Group. Elements of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) were also operating in conjunction with the Brigade. The 42nd ARVN Regiment, with its headquarters at Tan Canh, and the 1st ARVN Airborne Task Force, consisting of two airborne infantry battalions and a 105mm howitzer battery, conducted both highway security and significant search-and-destroy missions in the Dak To area. There were several major contacts after the 173d arrived to blunt the enemy thrusts against the Special Forces Camps in this region. The 2nd Battalion, 503d Infantry, initiated operations to the south of Dak To on June 18th, and began moving back toward Dak To. On the morning of June 22nd, A Company came under heavy ground fire and attacks, including two mass assaults from the NVA battalion which had engaged them. ft^ftrv "PH ^MMM|^_r *"<■■£ jtf WKmJt""- 1 1 f A 1 t I # r « m X .. . ^HE BOSTON HERALD -* -^ 4 f^+ Paratroops Battle Dug-ln Reci- te *\t\a II o rk ffitttttfii Copters ' Arti,ler y Come ,o Aid |V^iV4V M\M+r+>**' %^<*#**'V* w^rr-s— 2ls-l SAIGON — A multicompany force from the Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade walked into a . well-prepared enemy battlefield Monday 10 miles southwest of New Dak To, touching off a tight that killed 26 paratroopers and wounded 49 before Army heli- copter gunships and artillery could drive the enemy off. The action look place seven miles northwest of the spot where 84 paratroopers were killed when their company ran up against two well-equipped than two hours before Army heli- copter gunships and artillery could drive the Reds from their bunkers. The enemy Broke up into three unils when they withdrew, with two units Fleeing toward the Laos-Cambodian borders to the west and southwest and the third headed into (he mountains to the southeast, spokesmen said. After the bailie the paratroop- ers found six enemy bodies be- fore darkness set in. No contact was reported Tuesday. —The 1st Brigade, 101st Air- borne Div., tangled with an un-j known-sized enemy force in Quang Ngai province. The Reds hit the paratroopers with mortars and automatic weapons fire. Air strikes and artillery beat back the enemy- force. Two U.S. soldiers were killed while one enemy body was found. — Fourteen Communis! sol- diers were killed by um(s of the 5th Marine Rcgr. two mile* northwest of Tam Ky. P AC I F I C Estimates Over 400 Killed N. Viet Battalion Destroyed: Westy • * • EDITION 'ol. 23, No. 176 Monday, June 26, 19 NEW DAK TO. Vietnam— Cen. William Westmoreland Sunday- told survivors of a U.S. para- troop company Ihcv and their fallen comrades "killed over 40(1 North Vietnamese" and de- it roved an enemy battalion which had crossed into Soulh Vietnam from Laos. 'Westmoreland, commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam, told sur- vivors of the 173rd Airborne Brigade comnan; their unit "virtually destroyed a battalion of North Vietnamese troops " "It looks lo me like you kicked the hell out of them," Westmore- land said at the ward command post here The U.S. unit — from the 2nd Bn., 503rd Inf. — lost 7fi men killed and 22 wounded Thursday in a day-long battle with two Communist battalions. "You killed over 400 North nkesinan in Saigon said Sun- ty only to enemy bodies were und. Most of the bodies prob- ily were buried or carried off lursdny night, one source nil ' t u a m < Wesln land said. "I'm proud of you, You've been through a tough severe fight and have won il hands down." (Spokesmen of the 173d said Saturday they estimated 476 Communist troops were killed, many by air strikes. ii'tui 1 nd the first battalion to hit the U.S. (reportedly the 6th Bn.. 24th North Vietnamese Army Regt.) "was an elite bat- lalion when they crossed in from Labs, and Ihey were in high spirits when llie> contacted Ilowevt Bu official 475 ENEMY Paratrooper Heroes SLAIN AFTER in Vietnam AssaultHITTING GI'S iocHESTER Post- Bulletin he added, "You know as I do (hey are no longer in high spirits and thee a.-e no longer ready." The battle took place barely three mile.s from where West- moreland spoke at New Dak To. U.S. losses in the fight were 80 killed and 34 wounded. A brigade spokesman said half the nii-ii in the 173rd were new troops with only a few months combat in Vietnam. The battle was the first action of Operation Horace Greele.v Which continued Sunday as a Search and destroy drive in Kon turn Province near the Laotian and Cambodian border. Paratroopers Check 'Human Sea' Attacks SAIGON (UPI)— Fighting in air raid on North Vietnam, bloody hand-to-hand combat, with 171 missions thrown U.S. Paratroopers beat off against the big Nam Dinh hordes of North Vietnamese power plant and other tar- troops who attacked in human gets. This was only four mis- ROCHESTER, MINNESOTA, .SATURDAY, NOVEMBER II, 1967 waves using their own dead as shields, military spokes- men said today. Possibly as many as 450 Communists were killed. The U.S. Command kept the Thursday battle in the Central Highlands a secret until today because two American pla- toons were missing and offi- cials did not want the Com- munists to know it. But most members of the platoons were found dead, spokesmen said. The 173rd Airborne Brigade Paratroop- ers suffered 76 men killed PRICE 10 CEfand 25 injured. Each of the sions less than the record 175 flown last October 14. But no planes were reported lost in the raids Friday. The Central Highlands bat- tle engulfed two other compa- nies; which battled to reach their trapped colleagues through some of the thickest jungles in Asia. One moved in from the north, the other from the south. It took six hours of in- tense fighting for the southern column to reach the belea- guered company. The other company was beaten back. The Paratroopers were into an estimated 800 of the Communists as they swept up a ridegline 275 miles north- east of Saigon and 18 miles from the junction of South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Hordes of the Communists surrounded one Paratroop company, about 200 men, and launched a series of human wave assaults carrying their own dead as shields, officials said. Reports from the battlefield said the Americans hurled back two Communist charges but the third penetrated the company's defenses. It be- came every man for himself as the two sides locked in hand-to-hand combat. Officials in Saigon said there was no firm figure of Paratrooper Hit Reds In Fierce Battle 18 Americans, 98 Communists Killed In Central Area SAIGON (AP) - U.S. pa troopers and dug-in North Vi namese troops clashed fierc foday in a battle that left Americans and 98 Commuc troops dead in the ninth day fighting near Dak To in the c Iral highlands. The U.S. Command report ?5 paratroopers, from the U( 173rd Airborne Brigade, a were wounded in the day-lo, engagement. A battalion-sized unit of i, U.S. 4th Infantry Division —pi haps 500 men— operating near alio was reported in contt with enemy troops and ettcha^ ing fire with them into I night. Communists ambushed a U armored convoy in the sat sector and killed five Army i gineers and wounded seven it 15-minute light. The enginet called in artillery support a 13 of the enemy died under I counterfire. The clash occurred as otl U.S. soldiers probed a hill n< Dak To. North Vietnam! troops threw back a U.S. assa on the Hill Friday and Am< can artillery, gunship helic ters and warplanes then rai the hill repeatedly. Monsoon rains sharply c tailed the air war over North but carrier-based Ni pilots made radar-guided bo drops on the Kien An airfield miles southwest of Haipho Bad weather prevented dam; assessment. And Navy Al S raiders sank or damaged Communist supply boats i barges 22 miles south of I phong. The fighting in the rocky c \ .'.. highlands 270 miles nortt Saigon, near where Cambot Laos and South Vietnam mi reflects tthe same enemy del mination that cost the Viet about 900 dead in efforts to « Loc Ninh last week. In eight days of fight around Dak To, U.S. offic said, 450 Communist soldi have been killed. They lis casualties among the 4th D sion and 173rd Airborne Brig; as 49 killed and 175 wounded the same period. Associated Press correspo ent Peter Arnett, noting t November has always been war's bloodiest month, repc that fighting at the onset of t year's fall dry season is m Solute From General General William C. Westmoreland, allied commander, later told the Sky Soldiers at Dak To that their effort prevented the NVA from overunning the Special Forces Camp there. He saluted the 173d as one of the finest units in the history of the American fighting man. The following week, the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry, uncovered enemy base camps and hit an estimated NVA Company seizing a large cache of supplies. Two weeks later, the 4th Battalion, 503d Infantry made contact in another area with an estimated NVA Battalion. This engagement was charac- terized by a heavy volume of machinegun fire and automatic weapons fire before the enemy withdrew. The 173d's attention focused increasingly northwest. Dak Seang Special Forces Camp, situated north of Dak To, and Dak Pek Special Forces Camp, located north of Dak Seang, both received sporadic mortar and recoilless rifle fire for an extended period of time, while the Brigade concentrated on eliminating the enemy activity around Dak To. Also during this time the 1st ARVN Airborne Task Force, under the opera- tional control of the 173d, engaged an estimated NVA battalion near Dak Seang on August 6th. The following day, after inflicting heavy casualties, the ARVN troops took enemy positions and found they contained an elaborate VIP command post, in addition to the friendly positions at Dak To. The fight to eliminate NVA activity in the Operation GREELEY area continued. The Sky Soldiers, in the manner which came to be expected of them, gave an excel- lent performance against a new, better trained and equipped enemy than they had encountered in the III Corps area. Over a wide range of tough jungle terrain, the paratroopers successfully neutralized several separate threats to the relative security of the region. 1 »',.•;**■ -"f^sjJRP w ~^Bt : **""* \ -JL % Brigade Expands Operations In the middle of September, the 173d began to look more like a division when the 1st and 4th Battalion deployed from the Central Highlands to the seacoast near Tuy Hoa in the Phu Yen Province. The 2nd Battalion continued to conduct search-and-destroy missions in the Tumoroung Valley of the Central Highlands. On September 19th, the main Brigade Command post at Phu Heip began to direct Operation BOLLING. The 1st and 4th Battalions and the 2nd of the 8th Cavalry, 1st Air Cavalry Division operated in the mountains and fertile valleys to the west of Tuy Hoa. In Operation BOLLING, the 173d also worked in conjunction with the 9th ROK, and the 1st Battalion, 47th ARVN Regi- ment. The combined allied forces had a dual mission: the destruction of VC/NVA elements in the area, and the preservation of the rice harvest in the Tuy Hoa basin. During October, the Brigade saw two changes. On October 15th, the Sky Soldiers moved from their base camp at Bien Hoa in the III Corps to Camp RadclifT at An Khe in the II Corps. The second change was in the organiza- tional aspect of the Brigade. On October 24th, a fourth line battalion, the 3d Battalion, 503d Infantry, joined the 173d Airborne Brigade after five months of extensive training at Ft. Bragg, where they were attached to the 82nd Airborne Divi- sion. The new battalion initially became involved in Operation BOLLING. The 1st and 4th Battalions successfully completed their operation to protect the Vietnamese rice harvest west of Tuy Hoa during September and October. Then they deployed once again to Dak To in November to join the 2nd Battalion in Operation MACARTHUR. The Fight For Dak To The Brigade minus the 3d Battalion and D 16th Armor, returned to the Dak To region. Intelligence findings indicated that several NVA Regiments had reinfiltrated the heavily jungled area and were threaten- ing the New Dak To Airstrip and the local Special Forces Camp. The Central Highlands was nothing new for the 173d. They had seen action in this region on Operation GREELEY, which terminated October 14th. In the ensuing battle for Dak To, the Sky Soldiers fought during their finest hour. The airborne infantrymen made re- peated heavy contact with large forces of NVA over a bitterly fought, 20-day period. On a remote covered hill designated 875, a battalion of well dug in NVA made a last ditch effort to stop the hard fighting paratroopers of the 2nd Battalion. Both sides took heavy casualties during the fight characterized by close-quarter fighting and communist human-wave assaults. On Thanksgiving Day elements of the 4th Battalion rose to the crest of the hill and ousted the last of the NVA defenders. During December, the Sky Soldiers con- tinued Operation MACARTHUR in the Central Highlands. The first two weeks of December were spend conducting opera- tions west of Dak To in the Kontum Province, while the 3d Battalion, and D. 16th Armor continued Operation BOLL- ING in the vicinity of Tuy Hoa. On December 14th, the 4th Battalion, Troop E, 17th Cavalry, and the Brigade CP returned to Tuy Hoa leaving the 1st and 2nd Battalions in the Dak To - Kontum area under the operational control of the 4th Infantry Division. In Operation MACARTHUR enemy activity and findings continued to slacken during the month of December, while action picked up in Operation BOLLING area. The Brigade elements in the Tuy Hoa area maintained daily contact with VC/ NVA forces operating in the rich rice basin. On December 27th, the 3d Bat- talion made four heliborne assaults and encountered three hot LZ's. During the bitter fighting Sky Soldiers reported un- covering 51 communist bodies and cap- turing 18 small arms. On December 26th, the 2nd Battalion moved from Dak To to Kontum, to con- duct search-and-destroy operations with the 1st Battalion. The area of operations around Kontum proved to be cold. Brigade At An Khe During the month of January, 173d elements made numerous small skirm- ishes in Operation BOLLING and MACARTHUR. On January 16th, the 3d Battalion moved to An Khe. Upon arrival they immediately assumed responsibility of the base defense of Camp Radcliff, kicking off Operation WALKER. On January 26th, the perimeter of Camp Radcliff was penetrated by an estimated VC platoon. The An Khe Airfield was hit by 60mm mortar rounds resulting in heavy losses to the installations in the area. The 3d Battalion reaction force killed 13 ene- my and captured one. Outbreak At Tuy Hoa The morning of January 30th, C Battery, 6th Battalion, 32nd Artillery, requested a reaction force to assist in defending their fire support base located at the Tuy Hoa North Airfield. D Company, 4th Battalion, moved in by helicopters and cleared the fire support base and then became heavily engaged with an NVA force in a village to the south. They were later reinforced by C Company and supported by elements of the 47th ARVN Regiment. After heavy fighting and airstrikes, the village was taken on January 31st. During February the Brigade continued to drive on in Operations BOLLING, MACARTHUR, and WALKER, under- going a number of moves by motor convoy. On March 4th, Company D, 16th Armor, made the largest contact that the Brigade had seen for several weeks. It was mid- morning when the airborne armormen were called to attack and clear an enemy force from the vicinity of the Tuy Hoa North Airfield. After four hours of fighting that resulted in 200 communist dead, the armormen cleared the airfield and remained in posi- tion while the ARVN units pursued the enemy, maintaining contact until late in the afternoon. During the third year in Vietnam, the 173d Airborne Brigade did not limit its activities to fighting the enemy. Extensive civic action programs were conducted by the Sky Soldiers during all operations to deepen the ties of friendship between South Vietnamese and Americans. More than 60,000 civilians received medical aid from the Brigade doctors and medics during visits to villages and hamlets. Paratroopers have contributed both time and money for construction projects aimed at raising the living standards for our South Vietnamese allies. To promote better understanding the 173d organized numerous English clas- ses for children of Bien Hoa. Millions of leaflets were dropped within the Brigade's area of operation in support of its combat activities. As a result, many VC and NVA soldiers defected to the South Vietnamese Government. It was a tough but gratifying year for the Sky Soldiers. They have smashed the enemy in the South and in the Central Highlands. Their deeds have made headlines all over the world. This was the third year in Vietnam. irwm «we .._. ZZ7£ZZ' n .Jmoos on Hill 875: Tired but Triumphant CHUTSTS SE,ZE "'" U.5. Paratroopers Paratroopers Win Control of Hill Chasing Enemy Crest From Reds SAIGON' »— American paratroo- pers gained the Cambodian border in one of the iles and launched i' 1 ! In root out last-ditch .North Vietnamese defenders, battle front reports said today. Pressing on despite heai men of the 173rd Airborne Brigade won control of the crest in action Monday and Tuesday and opened a dawn assault today against en- 'ietnamese along a ridge line, the reports indicated. ine apparently . : The View From the Top of Hill 875 in the Central Highlands ft AMERICAN FORCES moved toward the cr.,t of Hill 875 near Dalt-To in South Vietnam where a 21-day battle taw et least 285 American! die. The Central High- lands hill coit the enemy at leait 1.400 men. (Story on Pege 7. AP Photo.) ...» mimm mr w n o r Paratroops Finally e Hill 875 After 5-Day Battle seize m 8/5 After Bombings Precede Attach corresf) ul ridge line was preceded by repeated U.S. bombin The fighting on Hill S75 has left at least 79 paratroopers dead and another 178 wounded since Sunday. Total U.S. losses in the 22 days of fighting around Dak To have been put at 246 dead and S60 wounded. Bitter 5-Day Battle i i ■ ■■ : ., pri ing as hard and bloody as any in d Its final ... .... suntly beforehand ■ I ■ enemy pm up 01 ' 1 .' i n Q. -i Dak To. ! nth. ' the top of embattled Hill N75 near Dak T May Wind Up Battle ^.indup of the t> ; ; •bloodiest of tlu- war for Americans land North Vii „ ,. n,i .ii ' ' ' : PI Radiophoio) lhe Paratroopers pulled ba close to the ridgeline late Wcdnes- allow repeated air atrenched North Vietnamese, they spent a cold night In Red Losses Climb mm m m vak To GIs Take Hill 875 ' '*''""" After 5-Day Fight & * H " rhur^TU^r -60 "' 6 -* 60 ^ US " P-«*W < I Thursday-Thanltsg.vmg Day-after fiv. days of bitter fighting. Saddles the route ' '*> the day. Serving America's International Gateway Since 1837 SAIGON, Nov. 24 OB — North tnamese iroops were believed with- from the bloody Dak To or. 270 mik\ north of Saigon. FIGHTING STOPPl-I) ) I r$ captured Hill 875 r o°ps captured Hill rt-52 bomhcf\ movi 1 tes ihe Communis* might usu for escape toward Camfc : . ii i ■ ■ ' icli now loial io: Americans killed and 172 wounded. \\ was climated that 120 By EUGENE V. RISHER SAIGON (UP] --i ■ iara troop today gave chase to a North Vietnamese unit shattered by U.S. artillery- men near Dak To but American battlefield commanders warned the Ocmrmini I committed 6,800 troops to the area and brought up huge 122 mm (five li i: trued Zona Bruno : : * commander of the 20.000 Maiines in the 3rd ■ to v. s killed with her men when his helicopter exploded on a flight from Hue to Dong Ha and fell 11 into a flooded rice paddy. Paratroopers Surrounded; Losses Heavy CREST IN FIERCE FIGHT 10-DAY DAK TO BATTLING KILLS the .... iight and i t Viet- 1 egular ., d U.S. paratrooper battalion on a ':■..,.■ out v - Hinam's central high- day and with heavy ground s. flVhR SOll FflF\ Ucks apparently inflicted heavy U T lail OUV I \J1m3 casualties. An American relief . cached the scene at dusk. Jungle Fighting I> Fierce The bait ill « and Close Airborne Brigade was cut off »nq not e ior M hours Mmt ^ rejn c,,?™- ,J ^ Q ? , ... Cummiimsl alar-k SAIGON (AP) - Fierce fight- dead and wounded. Heavy i n ?.. a i clfi « re "^ e ' ran « e my ground fire kepi rescue ' ■! g away. ... lat .1 Press Press Laat-Ditch Defend- ers on 875 Ridge line Vietnamese defend: front reports said Wednesday. . Pressing ontrol of the ere.-.! upted Saturday in the jungt of the central highlands ar both U.S. and North Vietnamese , »f°™"ea "ess correspon- . casualties mounted beyond the *"' i otl " Un 8 el reported from 500 mark in the 10-siay battle ? a , k ,. r °' a,ro "' Is n,,les from «* I around Dak To lighting, the heavy communist About 1,000 infantrymen and 1" ™' °" ' hu *' explosion paratroopers Irom the U. S. slde ™ l S Perimeter, possib- A PLATOON sergeant and » Mdiotcl 4th Infanlry Division and the ly f ausl " cs It phone operator of the U.S. 173d Airborr irboroe Brigade fougbl coultl "'" imme- Brigand peer into thick bamboo jungl, North Vietnamese forces ed into iuth o '■ . ... H-u hmilh was not the victim of Fighting also fl coastal lowlands near Tarn Ky, inigon and ; 3 Paratroopers Continue Push damaged as troops of the 1st Ail iiade a helicopter assault Monday agaiiist Red strong- what caused SAIGON l API - While US and artillery pounder tug-in North Vietnai lers. helicopte Cunimuni*; gi ds of the I .. , Bomb Retreat Route In the Dak 'To area B52 bombers dropped tons of bombs on the Co :n i OOperi tried to Vietti m . ■ ' ! ' '■ " ,I ™^P |11 oday the lasl of 140 Amerii jaratroopers wounded since Sunday in bitter fighting on the slopes of Hill Associated Press correspond- .nt Peter A-TieU re, brutal fight.- of he ar under way as men of the ' ' d a A ! r ^T ,1 g ^it .npied to take the remainmg l0I enemy bunkers on the hill u, the cenu-al highlaiuis 14 miles OUthwest of Dak To. Short of food and water, ths ia ■ . ' I iW enemy [ire as Ihey continued their pust :hc summit The\ use throwers ag ilnsl h tricate bunker system, U.S. lets poinded the entire Brutal Battle Involves 173rd Airborne Brigade Enemy's Final Resistance Atop Hill 875 Is Light Only Squad I Hold An .:...... ,, By JOHN I.KNf.n ...tli and removed al HILL Bl the rcsl in a two-hour period lo The enem day. along the forti This was the second most cost Thursday was light. ly bsttlc of the Viet Nam wa Only a squad rem for American foi It rivaled i that had held Hill S75 throti fighting in the la Drang valle nearly five days of bitter bal ll BtUC. GEN. 11. sCHWEITER nds ballalioos In hill fight. Largest Daily and Sunday Circulation in in* State oi i 3 SECTIONS, 50 PAGES TUESDAY, NOVEMBER GI'S REPULSE FURIOUS N. VIETNAMESE ATTACK .-,, helicopter gunshipi allacked the Communi ing to find Hie reinforcement; I. S. intelligence reports salt m ; . d to the Dak To fron E Pleil iuth , „ lost nine killer MAP LOCATES the battle area in South Viet- nam where North Vietnamese regulars and United Stales Suspected Enemy Camf Bombed After Fight By EDWIN Q, WHITE heal back a tuiious North Viet namese charge late Monday and 21 wounded in ' firing 105mm howitzers a fighting, the U S. Command re point-blank range m the jungiei ported, lis revised ligures pu hills of the central highlands It V. S. casualties in 11 days a oi Dak Tn. lighting around Dak To at 9: >ui battle. Hie kUled and 521 wounded. , , ietnamese broke oil 125 ENEMV DEAD the engagement, but ihcir Tile North Vietnamese casual suspected major camp two ties in Monday's battle were no mites farther south was known, but U. S. headquarter! plastered early Tuesday by said 625 ot the enemy wen eight-engine strata- killed in the previous 10 days o ,, For 10 hours before the Nortl Noiln Vietnamese troop: n struck, Ihe enem; launched a mortar attack Mon had rained mortar and rocke day nighl on ittaiio shells on positions of Ihe U. S of the 173rd Airborne, droppin, forces, elemenls of Ihe 173r< I Airborne Brigade. were not In enemy ' The reflected ARMY DIGESTED THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY Airborne Keeps 1 "Hod Stales since ihe Cora- miinisl artillery liege of Ci>n I bi Seplember. The U.S. Command re- ported thai for the week ending VOLUME 22, NO. 12 Trooper] ot the 173rd Alrbornr Briead near the Oest of Hill m as they Low as Enemy Attacks . i~,i ..J i„ h> a compare of North Vietnamese regular* Saturday. Ame killtJ and 1,256 wound? Hell on High Ground-The Fight for Hill 875 On a remote bamboo-covered hill in Vietnam near the Cambodian border, Chaplain (Major) Charles J. Watters said Mass to a battalion of paratroopers before the Sunday battle. During his 16 months of duty with the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade, Father Watters became as close as he could to the men. He knew most of them by name. He had listened to their confessions, delivered their Masses, and labored for solutions to their problems. He was their Chaplain. He was with his men when they parachuted into battle and worldwide fame last February to spearhead Operation JUNCTION CITY. He was also there when they sloshed through the rich coastal rice paddies near Tuy Hoa and climbed the rugged mountains surrounding Dak To. "He felt his place was with the men in the field, no matter where they went, or what they did," said fellow Catholic Chaplain (Major) Roy V. Peters. "He was hard-core." He never went without his Mass kit. At an opportune time, he would don his camouflaged vestments and set up a make-shift altar on a stack of **C" ration cases. The jungle served as his church. The 2nd Battalion paratroopers would gather around at Father Watters' familiar call, "It's Mass time." "We always knew when to come to church with Father Watters around," recalled one of them. Last May, he was with the men of Charlie Company when the paratroopers came under small arms and claymore fire from a Viet Cong force of unknown size. Under heavy enemy fire, Father Watters rushed forward to the side of a fatally wounded man. He remained with the paratrooper until he had administered last rites and the Sky Soldier was extracted from the battle field. For his heroic action, Father Watters was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor. Not long ago, Father Watters extended his Vietnam tour by six months. "He decided to make the military his life," explained Father Peters. "He felt he could do the most good in the Army." As usual, the airborne priest was with his men recently when the battalion assaulted a North Vietnamese force estimated at battalion size, well dug in atop Hill 875. During the ensuing battle, both sides suffered heavy casualties. Despite the deadly mortar and small arms fire, Father Watters moved among the wounded. Then he too was hit. He died beside his men, ministering to them and helping with their evacuation. One paratrooper summed up the battalion's feeling simply; "From beginning to end. he was our chaplain." * % wm m Braift Search and Destroy Many of the first operations the Brigade conducted after arriving in country were termed "search and destroy." The purpose of such operations is just as the name implies — to search an area and to destroy or capture enemy personnel and equipment. The enemy must be tracked down and fixed before he can be taken under fire and destroyed. This type of action is necessary because of the nature of counter-guerrilla warfare in which the enemy seeks to harass, evade and hide. The efforts of every individual is co- ordinated to locate the enemy. When con- tact is made the infantryman maintains pressure on the enemy location, while artil- lery and air power are called in to pound enemy positions. The airborne infantryman has the mission of actually closing with and destroying the enemy. When the artillery and air support is completed, it is the infantryman who must ferret out the small pockets of enemy resistance. Many times the enemy avoids contact by easily fading into the surrounding jungles — to be chased until he can be destroyed. When he stands to fight it will be the airborne infantrymen who will carry out the mission of— SEARCH and DESTROY. ■■< <% J ■\Y 3ftv .0?^f i V i I ' I •**' '-rf 'if*% '^*. *nNi ,j#«*i $■ IL^ "i rf^^^fc. 5r* *f ''rjT*'***^. % -#>• . p «&--.^ jBr,f, ';■'■■■" -. ^#* J , : ' , iMjg .jm* 4 \ • Airmobile Operations «&~- * ■- m*2 ^J •"'. 9fiimf\ 0?" ' 1UKS l* *&MiMsant/i Combat Dust Off To the wounded, the valuable minutes between the time he has been injured and the time he receives adequate medical treatment can mean the difference between life and death. Because of this difference the medical evacuation helicopter units, more com- monly called "Dust Off", attempts to fly into some of the tightest and insecure landing zones ever seen in this country. The man initially on-the-spot and respon- sible for the lives of many soldiers is the combat medic always moving under fire to assist the wounded. When "Dust Off" arrives, the wounded soldier is placed aboard and flown to a nearby medical facility. While in flight, treatment is continued by a qualified aidman who is also a crew member. The bravery of the "Dust Off" crews has been proven many times by their landings under fire and in seemingly inaccessible places. Medical support is provided by "B" Company (Medical) personnel who are capable of providing extensive medical treatment to the wounded. ^gs 1 *' Chaplains The Army Chaplain plays a vital role in Vietnam. To the men in combat, who face the perils of war daily, he is a bright beam of light giving them renewed faith and placing in perspective the difficult job they have to do in a country thousands of miles from home. The Army Chaplain has provided this guiding light since the days of the Revolu- tionary War. The gallant men of the chaplaincy have proven again and again their courage and unstinting devotion to- ward the moral and spiritual well-being of the combat soldier. In the field, the Chaplains have to impro- vise. It is not unusual to see a moss- covered rock become an altar or a rain- drenched jungle become a church. The services are simple, but the combat soldier appreciates the quiet reassurance that comes from this simplicity. The Chaplains of the 173d Airborne Brigade are among the finest in the armed forces. They have served under fire, aiding the wounded, both physically and spirit- ually. Somehow these dedicated men of God find the time for a moment of silence and prayer in a war that is very real — anytime, anywhere. LRRP Allies 39th Scout Dog Platoon A 1st Battalion, 503d Infantry soldier, commenting on his battalion's destruction of a NVA ambush patrol : "That dog was directly responsible for saving the men of his company from injury or death." Such tributes have often been paid to the men and dogs of the 39th Scout Dog Platoon. The platoon is charged with training the man-dog teams used by the line units in the Brigade for tracking the elusive guerrillas in the dense jungle. The dogs, all German Shepherds weigh- ing between 50 and 100 pounds, are trained at Ft. Benning prior to shipping over to Vietnam. When they arrive at the 173d Airborne Brigade they undergo a refresher course with the soldier assigned to be their handler. The scout dog teams train using decoys in the rugged brush country around the Brigade area. The success of the teams in battle has proven the merit and practicality of the program. Jungle School Whether a clerk, a radio-telephone oper- ator, or a platoon leader, all incoming personnel in enlisted ranks through ser- geant first class, and second and first lieute- nants attend the 173d Airborne Brigade Jungle School. The school strives to make each new arrival in Vietnam a more effective soldier by acquainting him with the ways of the Brigade, the Vietnamese people, the coun- try, and the War. Students in the school profit by the hard fought for experiences of the combat veteran instructors. The fears, doubts and questions of the new personnel are answered. Classes in weapons and jungle tactics serve both as a review and as a source of completely new information for the new arrival. Informative classes on what to wear, how to pack, how to recognize the enemy, and why we are in Vietnam are designed to enrich and orientate the students before they move to forward operational area. "Be Alert and Stay Alive" is the school's motto. To coordinate fire missions of heavy mortars, artillery, and Army and Air Force aircraft, a fire support center (FSCC) located within the Brigade Tactical Opera- tions Center (TOC) clears all requests for indirect fire. With FSCC control, it has been possible to conduct the combined fires of air strikes and artillery fire simul- taneously with close coordination. Artillerymen from the 319th fire the 105mm howitzer in direct support of each battalion in the Brigade. Fire is 'adjusted based on information received from an artillery forward observer (FO) who moves with each infantry company. The forward observer requests fire 'through the Fire Direction Center (FDC) located at the battalion fire support base. Additional fire support from the 60mm, 81mm, and 4.2-inch mortars, is used by the battalion commander for quick support. Also at the commander's disposal are aerial fire support from Army helicopters and Air Force tactical bombers. Armed helicopters — called gunships — provide close and extremely accurate fire- power. Armed with 40mm grenade launch- ers, M-60 machine-guns, and 2.75-inch rockets, these gunships are a welcome sight to the infantrymen in battle with the enemy. Tactical airpower is requested and co- ordinated by a Forward Air Controller- called "FAC". He flies in an Ol-E "Bird Dog" observation aircraft. Always above a battle scene the "FAC" can observe enemy movement and adjust incoming jets quickly and accurately. Unheard and out of sight, but bringing a devastating load to preplanned targets is the B-52Strato-Fortress— surprise through silence and force. Fire Support Mortars ■HHBHBBnHBHi Artillery w%. M' t ^r« i '■OPNtI '.SShfc^ - Success on the modern battlefield is dependent upon fire superiority and the success of fire superiority is dependent upon the ground corr^ nders best friend the Forward Air Controller (FAC The prkaary mission of the (FAC) is to provide^he c between the air and ground forces, to ensure maximum c tactical air power. Combat Support An outstanding lesson learned — or relearned — in Vietnam is the fact that combat support and combat service support are of extreme importance to the successful conduct of offensive or defensive operations, and that the movement of troops and sup- plies to the critical point at the critical time has been, and will continue to be the domi- nant factor in winning a battle, or a war. Conversely, it has been learned that the loss of one's ability to move troops and supplies entails the loss of initiative and a limitation of action which can only result in final defeat. The United States provides assistance to foreign countries in two forms — combat and civic actions. The latter program is the responsibility of the Brigade S-5 (Civic Action). Civic action, sometimes referred to as the "other war," wins the hearts and minds of the people by helping the Vietnamese to help themselves. This is accom- plished through the construction of schools, roads, bridges, dispensaries, churches, waterways, homes, and other worthwhile projects designed to provide the people with a better way of life and instill in them a sense of pride. The program is planned to be self- sustaining after hostilities have ceased. During hostilities it is designed to give the people of the Republic of Vietnam a feeling of unity, purpose, and confidence in the Government of Vietnam. Civic action also provides a source of intelligence to combat units as the people confide in those who take interest in their problems. The poten- tial to obtain useful intelligence is never overlooked. Civic action teams move out to the many villages in the area of operations and provide the people with medical and dental services. These two programs, Medical and Dental Civic Action Programs, constitute a great deal of the S-5's help programs. Doctors, dentists, and medics treat patients and distribute needed supplies to the vil- lagers. Sometimes food and clothing are distributed to improve health conditions. The Civil Affairs Section strives to further the cause of freedom in Vietnam by bringing aid to the sick in combat torn and disease infested areas, and by working jointly with government officials at province and dis- trict level. Winning the loyalty of the Vietnamese people to the government is as critical as fighting the enemy. When the people realize that their government is sincere in its efforts to pacify the country, to build the economy, and to administer and govern justly, the enemy will be deprived of support from the people. The Land r »-vf- * ~ -^pf *Rm* '* -0. w:l ma #^^ ■«* EH I <£. ^mmm, .m&sssspm*.; ,£ -' mt ' _«»_ :::: : * afciHwH The Enemy Small by American standards, the Viet Cong and their North Vietnamese counter- parts have proven to be a formidable foe. He can survive on a few fistfuls of rice for days at a time; devise crude, but effective weapons ; tolerate the rigors of the steaming jungle; live off the fat of the land, and if necessary ream out complex tunnels beneath the ground. The jungle is his home; his job is war. His military tactics run the gamut from Hannibal to Mao Tse Tung, and he wields his terroristic sword with might and pre- cision. "Charlie" has a favorite tactic — the ambush. For a long time he was successful against those who didn't know the land or the enemy, but the ambush is beginning to lose much of its punch because the Allied Forces have developed many equally good counter-ambush techniques. Elusive, nomadic, the Viet Cong con- tinue to strike, but the mounting pressure is causing him a heavy toll. * \ The Viet Cong's northern brother, the North Vietnamese Regular, is well-trained and equipped. He is the professional soldier whereas the Viet Cong are often farmers by day and guerrilla fighters by night. The North Vietnamese soldier is usually drafted into the army and forced to make the long, arduous trip to South Vietnam. His pay is almost nothing; a private receives five piasters a month. Even though the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) soldier is not resupplied as well as U.S. Army troops, he cannot be dismissed lightly. A professional, he is highly indoc- trinated by his leaders. He is aware of his striking power and uses it to full advantage. When a major offensive is made, it is usually the NVA who launch it. The North Vietnamese Regular is a skilled soldier, but we have consis- tently defeated him. He is becoming increas- ingly hard pressed and desperate in his war in the south. How long he will remain as an effective fighting force is a formidable question. The Sky Soldiers "Airborne" is more than a pair of glit- tering wings, it is an idea symbolizing that a man believes enough in himself and his country to go one step beyond just serving his time. He strives to be the best. Many of the troops arriving in country have just finished jump school. It doesn't take long for them to learn that they are assigned to one of the finest fighting units in military history — the 173d Airborne Brigade. The Sky Soldier is the main ingredient in the illustrious record of the 173d. Without him the 173d would be just another unit, but with him the 173d will live on and continue to be one of the finest. 1 V %/ U |L<y| L^^rf^ftj JkI r# ,1 4 .**>?:*$ l\\ mr r-»; -- %*^^ ink m Larry S. Pierce Milton L. Olive Medal of Honor In Vietnam all front line troops are heroes; most of the valorous acts they perform go unrewarded. But once in a great while the actions of an individual soldier win him the highest recognition not only of his fighting buddies, but of the U.S. Army and his country. In the 173d's history, there have been four such men. In February, 1966, Sergeant Larry Pierce was posthumously awarded the first Con- gressional Medal of Honor in the Brigade for saving the lives of three of his men by throwing himself on a claymore mine. Company A, 2nd Battalion, had made contact with a platoon of Viet Cong when an enemy soldier threw a grenade at Private First Class Milton L. Olive and four of his buddies. Without hesitation, PFC Olive jumped on the grenade, muffling the deadly explosion with his own body at the cost of his life. His four buddies escaped unharmed and in April, 1966, Olive was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. In December, 1966, Specialist 6 Larry Joel was the Brigade's third recipient of the award, for his heroic action while a com- bat medic in Company C, 1st Battalion. As the battalion fought a day long battle against a 700-man communist unit, Special- ist Joel, who was wounded twice himself and was unable to walk, crawled his way through the battle area, constantly exposing himself to enemy fire as he administered vital aid to badly wounded paratroopers. Sergeant Charles Morris, the most recent Medal of Honor winner, has also received the Distinguished Service Cross. As a squad leader in Company A, 2nd Battalion, although hit 30 times by Viet Cong bullets and grenade fragments, Sgt. Morris carried on a fierce fight for 5 hours, personally knocking out VC machine gun nests, killing numerous VC, aiding wounded Americans, and encouraging his men until the arrival of a relief force. Larry Joel Charles B. Morris *H»^- '-**!-' •' K ?*, I £!